Smart cities will be critical in fighting climate change, according to studies, but public knowledge of this fact is poor.
According to Milestone Systems study, 80 percent of British citizens want their local government to take more action to combat climate change. In the United Kingdom, 230 municipalities have already declared a climate emergency in their own areas.
However, just 47% of British people are aware that increasing use of data and technology may assist achieve changes that decrease our carbon footprints. The younger generation is considerably more conscious (52 percent of 18-24-year-olds vs 31 percent of over 65s).
Milestone Systems' EMEA VP, Malou Toft, stated:
“There is clearly the need for greater education around smart city technology and its potential capabilities. Sustainability and tackling climate change are key priorities for many cities currently, so there would likely be a lot of support for technology that could help to make a real difference. Not only would the wider implementation of smart technology help to cut down greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, but it is likely to have great support from the general public when communicated effectively.”
When exploring cities, over one-third (29%) of the general population is concerned about pollution.
Despite the reduction in emissions during COVID-19 lockdowns, data from the European Environment Agency released in June, revealed that just 127 of 323 cities throughout Europe had acceptable PM 2.5 levels.
Congestion on the streets is returning as lockdowns are lifted, particularly in the United Kingdom. Permanent increase in remote working are expected to help avoid a total return to past levels, but traffic will continue to be a major issue in cities, both in terms of pollution and the dissatisfaction it causes to road users.
More over a third of individuals feel that traffic congestion has gotten worse in their lifetime. Smart cities and interconnected cars can create savings in areas such as traffic management, allowing for better flow, shorter travel times, and bring more safety.
Despite the obvious benefits of smart cities, just 22% of the people believe that will have a beneficial influence. Half of those interviewed would prefer to know about smart city technologies before they are adopted, and 61% believe they are not being kept up to date on progress but would like to be.
We cannot overlook the reality that people all around the world are becoming more skeptical of technology and its influence on their lives, This tells us that establishing consumer and public trust must continue to be top-of-mind, as smart city technologies become increasingly prevalent. Says Toft.